The 2008 election season remains one of the nightmarish chapters that, to other well-documented records of violent conducts during polls, registered Zimbabwe as a hotbed for political violence.
The period, under the presidency of the deposed nonagenarian Robert Mugabe, was marked by a political absurdity that was, among other wretched things, characterised by arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of hundreds of lives, disappearances of politically left patrons, torture, degrading treatment punishment and denial of a fair public trial, assuming that holding diverse political views was a crime.
In a 2009 Human Rights Report on Zimbabwe’s political plight, the US Department of State wrote:
The government or its agents committed politically motivated, arbitrary, and unlawful killings during the year. By year’s end over 193 citizens had been killed in political violence that targeted members of the opposition party. The MDC claimed that approximately 200 other members and supporters were missing and presumed dead at year’s end.
The killings were primarily committed by members of ZANU-PF, ZANU-PF youth militia, war veterans, and, to a lesser extent, members of the military and police. The majority of politically motivated killings occurred between the March 29 harmonized election and the June 27 Presidential Run-off election. NGOs also estimated security forces killed between 200 and 300 citizens in the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland Province.
Now, as the country approaches the 10th anniversary of such a gloom era, a consortium of Churches comprising of Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD), Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe EFZ, Prayer Network of Zimbabwe (PNZ), and Wailing Women of Zimbabwe, will hold a Prayer Service in remembrance of the 2008 April-June Dark Season.
The churches will, in the same seam, observe the United Nations Convention Against Torture which falls on June 26. The Zimbabwean government despite being a full member of the United Nations family has neither ratified nor signed this human rights treaty.
A special feature of the Peace Prayer Service will include a solemn moment when War Vets Peace Initiative representatives meet some survivors/victims of political violence and the church will minister a Healing and forgiveness ceremony.
Different organisations will deliver their solidarity speeches on this occasion.
The service will take place on June the 27th from 10 am to 1 pm at the Dutch Reformed Hall, 35 Samora Machel Avenue in Harare.